Something Tricia said in Monday’s post got me thinking about change. Specifically about adopting the mindset of embracing change, in whatever form it comes, as opportunity – opportunity for growth, expression, and reinvention. Change can take the form of the end or beginning of a relationship, a move to a new city or country, or as in my case, a layoff. Or more accurately, another layoff.
Unfortunately, or fortunately as I now see it, layoffs are nothing new to me. I’ve been handed my walking papers three times in my almost 20 year career. And although that might not seem like a lot, when you’re a dedicated employee who (for the most part) enjoys the work you do, a layoff can feel like a punch in the gut.
The first time I was laid off was while I was working at an adult vocational school. There’d been a curriculum change that made the courses I, and a few other instructors were teaching, obsolete. After they told us about the impending change, they told us that they’d be serving cake and ice cream in the break room to say thanks. Today, although I know they meant well, getting sugary treats with my walking papers still feels a lot like Marie Antoinette saying “let them eat cake!”
My most recent layoff, I’d seen coming for a while. I watched as the company I’d worked for for almost two years devolve into a piping hot pile of mess, and knew change was inevitable. Even though I’d seen it coming, it’s never a great feeling to sit across from someone (less qualified than you no less) and hear them tell you, you’re no longer needed. Still, my almost immediate reaction was to think, “I’m no longer needed here, because I’m needed someplace else – someplace better.” I’m still working on where that is exactly, but my reaction to the uncertainty of a layoff and my future as a result of it, signified a shift in my thinking in response to change.
Since then, I’ve been working really hard on seeing change, all of it, the unexpected, the unplanned, even the unwanted, as an opportunity to step up to meet the me that until now has only existed in the realm of “if only I could…” It’s the me who isn’t satisfied with just going through the motions, the me who remains faithfully expecting great things to happen despite a reality that hasn’t quite gotten the memo, and the me who feels like she’s on the edge of something wonderful. Tricia is right. Change, in whatever form it comes, can be an opportunity, one I’m learning to embrace.